The "Citizen Kane" script is the blueprint for what many consider to be the greatest film of all time. So how did Orson Welles write it?
The world of the 1930s was no different than today. A corrupt billionaire was running for office and spouting "fake news," and somewhere Orson Welles was watching the whole thing unfold and plotting a movie based on real events. The Citizen Kane script was a thing of beauty. While not structured like modern movies on the page, it serves as the blueprint for the most important film of the 20th century.
Today we will look at it and talk about how it changed the world.
(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only)
What's the big deal with the Citizen Kane script?
I won't go too in depth, but if you're a movie junkie you should check out the awesome article on Cinephilia and Beyond about the movie and writing process. Suffice it to say, people knew it was a good story but no one could anticipate what an impact the movie would have when it came into existence.
The opening scene of Citizen Kane is such an interesting prologue. While the script formatting is not what we use today (it's blocky and the screenplay is 200+ pages), you can still see the images pop off the page and into your mind.
The real kicker is the ending of Citizen Kane. It's still one of the best plot twists in cinema history. Here the pages feel more modern. You can really see the culmination of those opening frames. I love how the story mirrors itself, opening on the stoic loneliness and ending with the reason for the upheaval and angst.
It's quite deep and beautiful.
A movie that will always stand the test of time thanks to excellent writing.
Who wrote Citizen Kane?
The official screenplay for Citizen Kane is credited to Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles, but there's an ongoing rumor that Orson Welles didn't write the screenplay for Citizen Kane, which seems nuts and is hard to prove. Obviously, lots of people want to claim ownership of the idea. The script is so valuable Sotheby's sold it at auction for almost $100,000.
What are your favorite parts of the Citizen Kane screenplay? What parts of the movie inspire you to write?
Let us know in the comments!
What's next? Read the Hateful Eight script!
The Hateful Eight script reveals an Agatha Christie-like world where Quentin Tarantino pits angry western genre character archteypes at each other's throats amidst the tensions of the recently ended Civil War. This is Tarantino's voice singing at the top of its lungs. So what can you do to inject this bravado into your writing?
Click the link to learn more!